A lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated war veteran who was born in Ukraine, asked Fox News to retract the baseless smears that he is a traitor with a warning that a lawsuit may follow if Fox fails to do the right thing.
In a lengthy letter to Fox News, Vindman attorney David Pressman, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, wrote of the damage caused to Vindman by the now-infamous October 28 smears on The Ingraham Angle as well as on Fox & Friends. It’s not just that Fox baselessly smeared Vindman, but that those smears were amplified by Donald Trump and other right-wingers.
“As a result, LTC Vindman and his family have been forced to examine options, including potentially moving onto a military base, in order to ensure their physical security in the face of threats rooted in the falsehood that Fox News originated,” Pressman wrote.
The smears continued last night, The New York Times noted, in tandem with Republican attempts to smear Vindman during yesteray’s testimony:
In testimony on Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, Colonel Vindman said that he twice reported his concerns about the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine to N.S.C. officials. At the hearing, Republicans ominously highlighted an episode where the Ukrainians sounded out the colonel about becoming the country’s defense minister, an offer the colonel said he rejected immediately and reported to his supervisors.
In the aftermath of his appearance, attacks against Colonel Vindman escalated, including from Donald Trump Jr., who called the colonel “a low level partisan bureaucrat and nothing more.”
Mr. Carlson and Ms. Ingraham seized on Ukraine’s job offer, with Mr. Carlson saying on-air, according to the letter, “Now we learn that the Ukrainian government repeatedly asked Vindman to take formal control of the entire Ukrainian military, which, for the record, is a very strange thing to ask of an active duty American military officer.”
The letter to Fox concludes with an attempt to resolve the situation amicably.
As a lawyer, it can be tempting to ask ourselves what the law says we must do. And the law here is clear: Fox News is liable, including for punitive damages, for the false and defamatory Allegations it published about LTC Vindman, knowing they were false. But putting aside legal arguments you may advance about whether Fox News can invade liability for its misconduct, we ask you to consider what Fox news should do as their self-described “most watched, most trusted” news network, Fox News has a great responsibility to the truth. The Segment was not true. It has now been repeated by some of the most powerful people in the world. It is causing great pain. We ask you to retract the coverage, correct the record, and publish the truth.
The Times article was published today but stated, “A spokeswoman for Fox News said Tuesday she had not seen the letter and had no immediate comment.”
(Vindman image via screen grab)